GW4 Director's Update
September 2020

Welcome to the GW4 newsletter: your regular digest of GW4 news, funding and development opportunities.

This is a special Director's update for me, as it will be my last. I am starting a new role from next month as Executive Director, leading strategic planning, evidence and engagement, for UKRI-BBSRC.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at GW4, working with colleagues across the Alliance, developing the team and creating new partnerships. I would like to thank everyone involved. Together we have achieved so much in the four years I have been with GW4 - driving nearly £50M in research income and over double that in doctoral training income to our partner institutions . 

To date we have funded and supported over 90 collaborative research communities, addressing some of society’s biggest questions and global challenges and delivering real work impact. For every £1 GW4 spends on collaborative research communities, we capture an impressive £15 in external research awards. Plus, this figure is growing as our communities develop and create more opportunities for further joint funding bids and new partnerships. The collective impact of GW4 has developed flagship communities of research excellence such as the GW4 Water Security Alliance - one of the largest water research consortia in the world, plus strong partnerships at scale including our research partnership with the National Trust, and the NC3Rs. GW4 is also launching two new Alliances, harnessing GW4's globally recognised research strengths and world-leading facilities and assets in the areas of Climate and Antimicrobial resistance. Our doctoral training programmes are going from strength to strength and we continue to support our early career researchers with schemes such as GW4 Crucible and the ECR Symposiums. I am also proud of our new initiative GW4WARD, designed to enhance and drive forward the professional development of technical staff across the Alliance. From the launch of the Western Gateway to the continued focus on the importance of place and the ‘levelling up agenda’, the opportunities for GW4 to play a central role in our region are abundant.

I will miss GW4 and everyone I have had the pleasure to work with, but I know the Alliance will continue to grow and prosper. Partnership working is characteristically challenging. However across the Alliance, colleagues consistent commitment to realising success through collaboration has made being part of GW4 a privilege and immense fun. I also wish to thank the GW4 team for their hard work and enthusiasm. GW4 is in a strong and exciting position. I look forward to hearing about GW4's continuing success as it delivers its vision for world-class collaborative research and innovation on a regional, national and global scale. 

For now, I leave you with a bumper edition of the GW4 newsletter full of exciting opportunities and updates, including Crucible 2021, ECR Symposia and the WSA conference.
GW4 Crucible 2021 - applications now open
(Image above: GW4 Crucible 2019 Cohort)

The theme of GW4 Crucible 2021 is ‘Transitions to Net Zero in the time of COVID-19’. Even before COVID-19 highlighted the need to ‘build back better’, the climate crisis has been the largest enduring global, anthropogenic threat to humanity.

GW4 Crucible is a stimulating programme designed to foster leaders of the future. It offers the opportunity for researchers across a broad range of disciplines to come together to create innovative, multifaceted responses to address global challenges.

If you are a researcher with an interest in or expertise applicable to addressing transitions to achieving net zero, we want to hear from you. The deadline for expressions of interest is 9am on Monday 26 October 2020

Apply now
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GW4 Early Career Symposia Scheme

Now in its second year, we are currently inviting applications to our GW4 Early Career Symposia Scheme for 2021. The purpose of this award is to create a space for postgraduate researchers and early career researchers to showcase their research, develop their management skills, and raise their profile by leading a Climate or antimicrobial resistance (AMR) online symposium. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 21 October 2020

Apply now

GW4WARD -  GW4 Technical Staff Professional Registration Scheme

As part of our new GW4WARD initiative, we are offering a competitive professional registration scheme for technical staff at GW4 universities to become members of professional bodies and learned societies.

Our aim is to enhance the visibility of technical staff by enabling them to gain recognition of their knowledge, experience and leadership skills within and across our partner institutions. Deadline for applications is 12:00pm on Tuesday, 27 October 2020.

Apply now

GW4’s return on research investment reaches new high

Our return on investment in collaborative research communities is at its highest level since the GW4 Alliance was formally launched in 2014.

In a recent review of our Building Communities programme, we have found that, to date, our investment of £2.9m in 93 research communities has generated £46m in research income. This means that for every £1 GW4 spends on collaborative research communities, we capture an impressive £15 in external research awards. 

Recruiting an Interim GW4 Director 

We are recruiting for an Interim GW4 Director on a fixed term secondment for 6 months. This post provides a unique opportunity to lead and manage the GW4 Alliance, providing a high-quality strategic partnership between the four research-intensive universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. 

This role is open to internal candidates across the GW4 Alliance institutions.

New Chair of GW4 Council and Board

We are pleased to welcome Professor Lisa Roberts, the University of Exeter’s new Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, as the new Chair of the GW4 Council.

This month, Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Bath also took over as Chair of GW4 Board from Professor Kim Graham, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Enterprise at Cardiff University.

Read more

Multidisciplinary Approaches to AMR: Bench to Bedside and Beyond

Organised by GW4 early career researchers and postgraduate researchers, this week-long event aims to address a ‘One Health’ approach to antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The free online symposium taking place from 30 November to 4 December will include interactive webinars from invited speakers, themed discussion forums, an online poster session and an images of research gallery. Abstract submission deadline is Friday 25 September and registration deadline is Monday 16 November 2020. 

Register now

New Generation Thinkers

The AHRC and BBC New Generation Thinkers scheme is now open for applications for the 2021 cohort. GW4 has had a number of successful applicants from across the alliance. 

In our latest GW4 Opinion piece Susan Greaney, from Cardiff University and part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, reflects on her experience as a New Generation Thinker, provides advice and insight for future applicants, and shares her thoughts on the intersection between academic research and public engagement.

Climate Assembly UK Report

This month saw the launch of the report from the first UK-wide citizens’ assembly on climate change. GW4 researchers led parts of the climate assembly and presented research to ensure the balance and accuracy of the discussions. 

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology, and Director of the ESRC-funded UK Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) based at Cardiff University, supported the assembly’s design and delivery. As one of the expert leads, Lorraine explains in a GW4 Opinion piece the importance of the Assemblies findings and their impacts for society.

Read more


A team of PhD students from across GW4 are leading an exciting new conference 'GW4 WSA PHD CON2020: Knowledge Flow - Building Bridges Between Science & Community'.

This GW4 Water Security Alliance event will bring together practitioners working with communities across the world, and researchers, working in fields spanning climate change, water scarcity and resource management, flood risk and policy, to explore this vital ‘knowledge flow’.

The online conference will take place from 28-30 September with  workshops, webinars, flash talks and a poster competition. 

Register now


GW4 WSA Annual Conference 2020 

This year’s GW4 Water Security Alliance conference will be held online from 2-4 November and include informative webinars and interactive workshops.

Attendees will learn about the breadth of research taking place across the GW4 community, share water-related research experiences with academics and stakeholders, and help to inspire and support the next generation of water researchers. 

Register now

Research Ethics Conference

The South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) is hosting the Research Ethics Conference at the University of Exeter on 26 March 2021, and the committee is looking for volunteers (postgraduates, postdocs or staff) from the natural and formal sciences to get involved with the organisation and preparation.

The conference will allow academics and local stakeholders with an interest in research ethics to share knowledge, best practice and help to raise understanding of the importance of research and practical ethics.
GW4 Funding and Development Opportunities
GW4 is a collaboration between the University of Bath, the University of Bristol, Cardiff University & the University of Exeter. 

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